Court changes course, rules in favor of Zuffa to seal and redact docs in Mark Hunt case

August 21, 2018

The Court in the Mark Hunt lawsuit against Zuffa, Dana White and Brock Lesnar granted Zuffa’s Renewed Motion to File Exhibits Under Seal and To Redact a Portion of Their Reply Brief.

Notably, Plaintiff did not file a response to oppose the “renewed motion.”  Originally, the court denied Zuffa’s request which seeks to seal and redact portions of the 2017 Promotional Agreement with Hunt.  The Court ruled that since this is a dispositive motion (a motion that may bring an end to the lawsuit), the party seeking to seal the record “must articulate compelling reasons supported by specific factual findings that outweigh the general history of access and the public policies favoring disclosure…”  Included in the request to redact documents, the Zuffa Dana White attached Hunt’s Bout Agreement for UFC 200 and other Bout Agreements from previous fights on as exhibits to its Motion to Dismiss Hunt’s First Amended Complaint.  Denial of its Motion to Seal these documents presumptively means that they would be available for public viewing.

Order on Renewed Motion to Seal by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd

Zuffa “Renewed” its motion although it did not cite to specific and compelling reasons to seal or redact. It did argue that it was “sensitive commercial information of the parties, the disclosure of which would cause the parties harm and jeopardize their competitive standing in the professional MMA industry.”

In the only two sentences which enlightens the reader on the rationale for the decision, the Court states, “[D]efendants claim that the agreements contain proprietary information, and that competitive standing with MMA promoters.  The court finds that defendants have identified compelling reasons that warrant sealing the exhibits…”  This explanation does not seem compelling at all.

 Payout Perspective:

This is a surprising and disappointing ruling from the perspective that the Court rationale was limited and did not offer up an explanation as to what had changed from its original ruling.  It also promotes the further practice of sealing and redacting based on vague notions that the information is “sensitive commercial information.”  It also may impact the Zuffa Antitrust lawsuit as that case is also in a battle with redaction of Zuffa business information.

Details of Zuffa exec deposition reveals questions on exclusivity provisions, right to match and toy deals

August 20, 2018

Zuffa filed its Motion for Summary Judgment in which it wishes to dismisses the antitrust lawsuit filed by ex-fighters.  MMA Payout takes a look at some of the deposition testimony attached as exhibits to the motion.  This is the first of a series.

In order to prove its case, Zuffa attaches portions of the deposition testimony it cites in its motion.  The depositions are not the full transcript but small snippets of pages from the depositions.  There are a portions that are redacted for the public so we cannot see the full transcript.

For instance, Sean Shelby’s deposition attached to the motion reveals nothing. The first question is visible, but the rest of the deposition is redacted.  The question posed to Shelby was an Exhibit which is a text completion between “multiple parties.”   One could only assume that the texts may be between Shelby and/or Dana White, Joe Silva or another UFC employee.

Depo of Sean Shelby by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd

But, not all transcripts are like Shelby’s.  For instance, UFC Executive, Ike Epstein includes some interesting testimony.

Exhibit 8 – Depo of Ike Epstein by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd

Reason for Exclusivity

The snippets that were provided in the exhibit provide Epstein’s testimony with respect to the purpose of exclusivity provisions in athlete contracts.  He testified that the UFC were “putting on 40 fights per year, and in order to put on 40 plus fights per year, you have to know that fighters are available to put on those events.”  He added, “[i]f the fighters were not exclusive to us, we could never put on 40 plus events per year, and our output would significantly decrease.”

He stated that the provision was a benefit for all UFC fighters and that no one would be affected negatively by the clause.  He did qualify this statement by testifying “all fighters are different.”  Although lured into the trap that exclusivity prohibits fighters from finding other opportunities elsewhere, Epstein stated that the sole purpose of the provision was to ensure that the company could do 30-40 events per year.  He qualified his answer to the UFC lawyer’s “narrow question” by stating that he disagreed with the “underlying assumption” in the question that assumed there were more opportunities for an athlete but for the exclusivity provision in UFC contracts.

At this point in the testimony it seems to get contentious, as the parties fight over the semantics of the questions.  Here, the plaintiffs’ attorney would like Epstein to agree to the question that based on the UFC’s exclusivity provision, the fighters cannot seek opportunities to fight elsewhere.  However, Epstein is wary of the trap and will not cede to this admission.  He does note that the viewpoint of the question infers something that the UFC does not want to admit, but plaintiffs cannot provide.  And that is that if fighters were given an opportunity to freely contract with others, they would earn more money, find more fights and/or both.

When asked by plaintiffs’ attorney Joseph Saveri whether boxing has the “same sort of exclusivity problems,” Epstein said yes.

He also agrees that most fight contracts are for 4 fights or 20 months, whichever comes first.  However, some fighters have longer terms.

He also testifies about the negotiations surrounding the Gilbert Melendez contract and how they thought the matching offer given to the lightweight was unreasonable.

There is an interesting exchange where Epstein discusses the willingness to match the offer made to Cheick Kongo.  However, the company decided to let the heavyweight go and he signed with Bellator.

Jakks and Round 5

Epstein is questioned about a toy deal with toy makers  Jakks Pacific and Round 5.

The limited testimony addresses Round 5’s ability to sign exclusive agreements with certain fighters.  Epstein notes that Round 5 was able to secure exclusive contracts to do toy deals with UFC fighters and were paid directly.   Jakks Pacific had the official license to replicate UFC fighters but, for a time, were foreclosed from making certain UFC fighters due to an exclusive contract with Round 5.

In 2009, Jakks, the master toy licensee for the UFC sub-licensed with Round 5 Corp to share UFC and MMA talent in the selling and distribution of action figures.  This brought all of the UFC athletes under the same umbrella and all were paid the same.

The example underscored the limited freedom that athletes had to resource other forms of revenue.  Ultimately, this was consolidated within Zuffa.  This testimony also related to Identity Rights for fighters.

Who is this?

There is a snippet where they discuss an individual that is hard to decipher without more information.  All that can be gathered is that “he regularly reports on ratings of UFC events,” and Epstein viewed reports as “business intelligence.”

Payout Perspective:

We’ll take a look at other depo transcripts as we await the plaintiffs response to this motion.  Epstein, a lawyer, understands the depo process so its no surprise that his testimony did not illicit anything of substance aside from the fact he liked Cheick Kongo.

Plaintiffs in UFC Antitrust Lawsuit Oppose Sealing of Documents by Zuffa in latest legal filing

August 14, 2018

Plaintiffs in the UFC Antitrust lawsuit have filed an opposition to Zuffa’s request for a Motion to Seal documents in its Motion for Summary Judgment.

Plaintiffs argue that the documents requested by Zuffa to seal from public view do not contain trade secrets, commercially sensitive information, are of public knowledge and are too old to contain trade secrets.  As a result, it has failed to carry its burden that it will be harmed if it is disclosed by the public

Plaintiffs have filed its own Motion to Seal here premised upon Zuffa’s request to seal.  This is based upon the Protective Order previously agreed to and signed by the parties, the documents that they seek to seal have been designated as “Confidential or Highly Confidential – Attorneys’ Eyes Only.”

According to Zuffa’s Motion to Seal, it places its requests in five categories: Financial Information, Business Communication and Strategy, Third Party Information and Expert Reports and Testimony.  Notably, Plaintiffs point out the vague notion of why Zuffa believes certain business communication and strategy should be sealed citing “public disclosure of this information would be likely to provide competitors with unfair and damaging insights into Zuffa’s business practices, including providing those competitors with unearned competitive advantages.”

The Motion notes that Zuffa would like to seal portions of deposition testimony from former Zuffa vice  president and assistant general counsel Michael Mersch about a hypothetical contract.  There is also a request to seal testimony from Lorenzo Fertitta but that portion of the motion has been sealed at this point pending a Court determination.

The Motion cites to certain MMA articles which are about the UFC contracts which display the fact that the information that the UFC seeks to seal is already of public information.

Oppo to Motion to Seal by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd

Payout Perspective:

Plaintiffs have just started to oppose the sealing of documents at this point.  They note that previously they have allowed Zuffa to seal info with the motion going unopposed.  Either Plaintiffs are recognizing a new strategy or someone was asleep at the wheel and didn’t realize that they should have opposed these motions all along.  It will be up to a Court to decide if a legal burden to seal the documents has been proven by Zuffa.  A Court could take a look at what is being sought to disclose and render that certain things may be disclosed while others may remain to be sealed.  But, the inference is that all filings should be for public view and its up to a party to prove legal harm from disclosure.  MMA Payout will keep you posted.

Zuffa “Renews” its Motion to Seal in Mark Hunt case

August 12, 2018

Zuffa has “Renewed” its Motion to Seal Exhibits in its Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff’s Supplemental Complaint.  The Court originally denied Zuffa’s Motion to Seal but it now requests the Court once again.

Similar to a Motion for Reconsideration except Zuffa styles the Motion as a “Renewed” Motion.  In most instances, filing a Motion for Reconsideration requires new evidence not considered by the Court to prevail.   A “Renewed” Motion appears to be the same thing.

According to the Motion, it requests the Court to have the documents to remain sealed until the Court determines the results of it.  Originally, the Court was to release the documents on August 6.  Based upon a Pacer search, it appears that the Court is honoring this request.

The Court originally denied Zuffa’s Motion to Seal which included, among other things,  Hunt’s Bout Agreement for his fight with Derrick Lewis.  They also request to seal a Promotional and Ancillary Rights Agreement and a Letter of Agreement between Zuffa and Hunt from August 8, 2014.  According to Zuffa, the agreements are predecessors to the 2016 Promotional Agreement.  Additionally, there are “three Bout Agreements for different events that took place pursuant to the terms of the parties’ 2016 Promotional Agreement.”  Zuffa claims that these are “sensitive commercial information of the parties, the disclosure of which would cause the parties harm and jeopardize their competitive standing in the professional MMA industry.”

Renewed Motion to Seal by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd

Payout Perspective:

Remember when Demi Moore’s character in “A Few Good Men” ‘strenuously objected’ after the Judge’s objection was overruled.  This situation is the same thing.  There is no real reason that a Court would rethink a previous ruling unless something arose post-ruling.  But, that does not appear to be the case here.  If the Court were to rethink its ruling, one might expect an appeal from Hunt’s attorneys.  This will be a ruling that the plaintiffs’ attorneys in the Zuffa Antitrust Case will be looking at with interest as well as the lawyers in Leslie Smith’s NLRB case.  The reveal of contractual information as to how MMA fighters are paid is a secretive process and unlike wage scales in other sports, payouts in the UFC are held close to the vest.  MMA Payout will keep you posted.

Cabana sues Punk over unpaid legal fees

August 9, 2018

Scott Colton (aka Colt Cabana) is suing C.M. Punk over unpaid legal fees the two shared as a result of a defamation lawsuit brought by a WWE physician.  Cabana and Punk prevailed in the lawsuit although the issue of the bill is in dispute.

The lawsuit was filed on Tuesday, August 7th in the Circuit Court of Cook County Illinois.  According to the lawsuit, CM Punk assured Cabana that he was “100% covered” in relation to a demand letter he received regarding the infamous podcast in which Punk and Cabana spoke about the latter’s time in WWE including the physician’s lack of care for Punk.  Punk and Cabana were sued on February 19, 2015.

A retention agreement by Punk and Cabana’s defense law firm during for the trial indicated that Punk would be responsible for paying the legal invoices.  But, Cabana claims that in April 2016, Punk emailed him stating he would no longer pay the legal bills stating that Cabana would be responsible for half.  But, in June 2016, an agreement was brokered between the law firm, Punk and Cabana through trial.

In March 2017, Punk allegedly requested that the law firm representing them withdraw from the case as to representing Cabana.  As a result, Cabana had to retain separate counsel.

In June 2018, a jury returned a verdict in favor of Punk and Cabana.  After the trial, Cabana’s lawyers demanded $200,000 in legal fees and net costs incurred by Cabana.  But, Punk refused to pay.

Cabana has brought a civil lawsuit for breach of contract and fraud.

Payout Perspective:

It looks like the former friends are friends no more considering this lawsuit.  There were potential conflicts between Cabana and Punk from the outset and to have both represented by the same counsel seemed dubious.  Based on Cabana’s side of the story, it appears that he took no action to remove the podcast when the initial demand letter was sent by the WWE doctor because he believed that Punk would “cover” him.  In this case, withdrawing as counsel two years into the lawsuit is more damaging than letting him find his own counsel from the beginning because it would seem that the new counsel would cost more considering it would have to get up to speed with the lawsuit and duplicate efforts.  One would think that a settlement would have happened instead of this lawsuit but it may be a case of bad blood between the two.

Zuffa files its Motion for Summary Judgment against former fighters in the UFC Antitrust Lawsuit

July 31, 2018

On Monday, Zuffa filed its Motion for Summary Judgment against the Plaintiffs in the UFC Antitrust lawsuit.  The filing argues that despite the lengthy and voluminous amount of discovery taken place, the former fighters have not provided factual evidence to support their antitrust claims.  It also argues that the expert opinion of the Plaintiffs should be excluded, and if not, they do not set forth evidence to establish a market, examine the correct wage comparison exhibiting losses and show causal injury.

Zuffa notes that it has filed Daubert motions which seek to exclude the testimony from Plaintiffs’ two economic experts.  If the court grants those motions, Plaintiffs will not have evidence of market definition, causation or damages.  Even without the court granting those motions, Zuffa argues that Plaintiffs’ allegations for monopolization and monopsonization must fail.  Zuffa argues that based on the testimony from rival organizations such as Bellator, PFL, OneFC and ACB that none had issues securing fighters and thus had the necessary inputs to compete.  The company argues that Plaintiffs changed its alleged “scheme” and omitted any monopoly claims.  The new theory is comprised of a “free floating” monopoly “broth” which comprises different allegations and Zuffa argues that the claims fail due to the lack of a sufficient input or output market.

Zuffa cites to the ruling in the Golden Boy-Al Haymon lawsuit in which Haymon won on summary judgment.  Essentially, Zuffa contends “Plaintiffs have not met their burden of proving an input market of buyers (where Zuffa competes with other promoters to acquire athletes’ service) or an output market of sellers (where Zuffa competes to offer sports entertainment to viewers).”

The motion attempts to poke holes at Dr. Hal Singer’s findings in its expert report supporting the former fighters’ argument for an “Elite MMA Fighter” market.  Zuffa argues, “Dr. Singer has not even attempted to define a market using the accept SSNIP [Significant Non-transitory Increase in Prices] test because he has not defined buying promoters to whom a price decrease by a monopsonist would cause a shift in business.”  It once again cites to the Golden Boy-Haymon opinion for the example where a product market for “Championship-Caliber Boxers” is not sustainable where expert fails “to analyze the qualifications or backgrounds of the current managers in the market.”  Zuffa states, “Dr. Singer merely uses the ranking data combined with his own subjective analysis to include or exclude athletes rather than promoters.”

Zuffa goes on to argue Dr. Singer’s definition of the output markets stating that the proper market definition is broader than just MMA and his expert opinion does not consider the reasonable substitutes.

In arguing that the court dismiss its Monopsonization Claim, Zuffa argues that the testimony from competing MMA promoters have access to the inputs needed to compete refutes the monopsony claim that the promotion is a “monopsony purchaser of athletes’ services.”

Zuffa brings across multiple examples of its promoters thriving despite it being a competitor in the same market.  Bellator’s recent “nine-figure deal” with DAZN to produce 22 annual events is used as evidence to argue that other promotions do not have barriers to entry.  They also cite to PFL’s recent deal with NBC Sports and One Championship’s boast that it broadcasts to “1.7 billion potential viewers across 138 countries.”

Scott Coker’s deposition testimony is quoted in the motion stating, “there’s not going to be a free agent fighter that Bellator can’t affor or have access to” to support the claim that other promotions are comparable to the UFC.

In addition, Zuffa claims that Plaintiffs have failed to evaluate the effect of the challenged conduct on actual compensation levels.  It claims that actual compensation for fighters rose during the Class Period in question.  This goes back to the overarching theme of “wage share” versus “wage level.”  Wage share is the total compensation as a percentage of relevant revenues whereas wage level are the actual wages. Here, Zuffa argues that wage share is an unacceptable measure of anticompetitive conduct because it would have the “practical effect of stifling companies’ innovation and investments for fear of incurring treble damages liability based on a lower than average wage share.”

One of the interesting arguments made by Zuffa is that it did not engage in exclusionary anticompetive conduct.  It claims it did not engage in “predatory hiring,” which is the hiring of talent for purposes of keeping them away form a competitor.  The motion denies that the UFC signed Gilbert Melendez and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira to prevent them from leaving for another organization as claimed by Plaintiffs.  It also mentions the “benching” (i.e., “forced periods of inactivity”) of three UFC athletes: Andrei Arlovski, Roger Huerta and another fighter which is redacted.

The motion also argues that Plaintiffs did not prove that Zuffa’s Exclusive Contracts Foreclose a “Substantial Share of Competition.”  Zuffa claims that Plaintiffs contention that the company’s 30-month exclusive fighter contract (including the right to match period) is illegal is wrong.  “Contrary to Dr. Singer’s assertion that 30-month exclusive contracts are unlawful, courts have routinely held that exclusive contracts even up to six years are not anticompetitive so long as there is sufficient opportunity to compete for each contract at the time it is signed.”

Motion for Summary Judgment by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd

Payout Perspective:

MMA Payout will continue to examine this motion as we have yet to talk about the plethora of exhibits which were attached to support it.  The arguments are similar to the ones made at the outset with its motion to dismiss. Zuffa’s introductory section which explains its success based on taking risks on the industry, its investment and its business acumen to get where it is today.

Zuffa stresses the competition in its motion utilizing evidence from testimony of its competitors to show that they are competing with the UFC and in certain instances have had no issues in attaining athletes similarly sought by the promotion.  This would seem to contradict the Plaintiffs argument that it had a monopsony over the market for “Elite Professional MMA Fighter services.”  As for its monopoly claim, Zuffa states the plaintiffs have conceded this claim based on inferences from prior pleadings.

Although it notes it is moving to exclude Plaintiffs’ expert, Hal Singer, it takes direct aim in rebutting his analysis which supports the claims made by the former UFC athletes.  It argues that they have wrongly identified the input or output market by attempting to define the market by the athletes and not by the MMA promoter.

Plaintiffs will have an opportunity to respond in the coming weeks and MMA Payout will keep you posted.

Ferreira files lawsuit against supplement makers and supplier for allegedly causing USADA suspension

July 29, 2018

Carlos Diego Ferreira Neves has filed a lawsuit against supplement vendors, manufacturers and suppliers which resulted in the lightweight being suspended for 17 months.

The lawsuit filed last month In the District Court of Hidalgo County, Texas states that Defendants spiked “360 Lean, a “dietary nutritional supplement” with ostarine while also misleadingly adding a prohibited substance known as 7-Keto® DHEA, causing Plaintiff to suffer severe injuries after being banned from the UFC.”

Ferreira notes that the label of 360Lean did not accurately list 7-Keto® DHEA and later changed its description in subsequent batches. The lawsuit states, “[R]epresenting that the supplement contained, 7-Keto®, without indicating the product contained a hormone was wholly deceptive, misleading, and fraudulent.”

7-Keto® DHEA and Ostarine are banned substances and 360Lean was placed on the USADA High Risk List in Februar 2017 “after testing of Lot Number 9004637 revealed the presence of 7-Keto® DHEA and ostarine.

In September 2016, a sealed unopened bottle of 360Lean was sent to a WADA accredited lab where Plaintiff discovered that he had unknowingly and through no fault of his own ingested ostarine from the product 360Lean.  Ferreira was charged with a UFC Anti-Doping Violation in November 2016.

Ferreira is suing Zinpro and Impact Labs as the developers, manufacturers, marketers and distributors of 360Lean.  Vitamin Shack & Shakes sold the 360Lean product.

The lawsuit states a variety of causes of action including negligence, breach of express warranty, breach of implied warrantied and fraud against Zinpro Corporation and Impact Labs.  Ferreira also claims that the Defendants are guilty under the theory of strict liability for products liability.

Ferreira First Amended Petition by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd

The store where Ferreira purchased 360Lean has filed a cross-claim against the Zinpro and Impact Labs for allegedly misleading consumers with its label.

Payout Perspective:

This is the fourth lawsuit since the UFC Anti-Doping policy was implemented where a fighter has sued a supplement maker, manufacture and distributor.  Josh Barnett, Yoel Romero and Lyman Good also filed lawsuits against supplement makers and the places where they purchased the alleged tainted goods which caused them to receive suspensions as a result of the findings.

In products liability cases (lawsuits where the claim is that a product is defective), there is a higher standard on the manufacturer or seller to ensure that the user is not harmed.  In this instance, one could argue Ferreira was not harmed in the sense of physical injury.  He was harmed since he had to ensure he did not ingest a banned substance per the UFC Anti-Doping Policy.  The question will be whether the Defendants knowingly misled consumers with the amendment of its description on the label.  This will make a very interesting case as it continues.  MMA Payout will continue to follow.

Plaintiff in McGregor thrown can lawsuit moves for partial summary judgment

July 26, 2018

Earlier this month, the plaintiff in the Conor McGregor thrown can lawsuit from the pre-UFC 202 press conference moved the court for partial summary judgment seeking an order that the UFC two-division champion was liable for throwing a can that hit William Pegg.

In the moving papers, Pegg embeds still photographs of McGregor throwing “unopened beverage cans from the stage towards the audience.”  According to the pleading, “[t]he second of two cans thrown hit Pegg in his back, near his left shoulder.”  As proof, plaintiff’s attorney also embeds photos of Pegg’s shoulder showing the bruising.

Plaintiff’s Motion for Partial Summary Judgment by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd

Specifically, Pegg requests that the Court issue an order that McGregor breached his duty of care by throwing the can, that the can hit Pegg, that McGregor committed the tort of battery and that Pegg was not comparatively negligent.

Plaintiff’s attorney argues that McGregor has not produced any evidence showing that Pegg was comparatively negligent and from a legal perspective, it does not apply to intentional torts.  As a result, Pegg argues that certain defenses claimed by McGregor are stricken as potential arguments used by the UFC fighter’s defense later on.

Notably, Plaintiff uses the Nevada Athletic Commission’s Findings of Fact from his hearing on the matter as an exhibit.

Payout Perspective:

While it might seem like good strategy for the plaintiff to obtain judgment on McGregor’s breach of duty and committing a tort, the real issue is that of damages, as in were there any. McGregor’s attorneys could (and probably should) stipulate to liability and argue damages.  This would eliminate any question surrounding the facts which caused the injury but focus on the actual damages as a result. So, if this were to go to trial, you can hypothetically limit evidence of the whole incident and focus on the damages based on a thrown can.  With that being said, the medical damages look minimal in comparison to the amount claimed by Pegg. MMA Payout will keep you posted.

Conor McGregor enters plea deal, will have no jail time…or criminal record

July 26, 2018

Conor McGregor has agreed to a plea deal with the New York District Attorney and approved by the court on Thursday morning.  McGregor pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and was handed just community service for the April 5th incident where he hurled a dolly at a bus of UFC athletes.

The district attorney dropped two felony counts of criminal mischief in exchange for pleading guilty of the misdemeanor.  McGregor was ordered to perform five days of community service and take anger management classes.  He will also have to pay for damages.  But, after his completion, he will not have a criminal record.  Further, it will not affect his travel.

Cian Cowley, his teammate, was given a similar sentence but will perform just three days of community service.

According to the Assistant District Attorney Janet Gleeson, McGregor has paid for the damage in the bus attack.

The two appeared Thursday morning at Kings County Criminal Court in Brooklyn, New York.

Payout Perspective:

Just to be clear, the sentence given to McGregor and Cowley would not be given to normal people especially with the viral video of McGregor not listening to security when he picked up the object to throw at the bus.  There still may be a civil lawsuit filed by Michael Chiesa over the matter.  Despite paying restitution, its likely related to the bus damage.  With this escapade over, we may see McGregor return to the Octagon by the end of the year as it seems that the two-division champ is bored.

He says he’s not, but should Anderson Silva sue USADA?

July 25, 2018

On Ariel Helwani’s show this past Monday, Anderson Silva stated that he would not take legal action after USADA determined that his failed drug test came from a compounding pharmacy.  But, a legal action could facilitate a change to the current UFC Anti-Doping Policy.

The former middleweight champ said he has lost 4 sponsors as a result of his absence from the Octagon.

Silva’s statement of losing sponsors could be a claim for damages in a lawsuit against USADA and Zuffa.   Based on the USADA ruling, it absolves Silva of wrongdoing in the matter as he ingested a contaminated supplement.  He unknowingly took a supplement from a pharmacy that made the supplement in-house rather than receiving it from the actual manufacturer.  The issue of “compounding pharmacies” has come up with several tests that were flagged by USADA.  This includes Junior Dos Santos and Antonio Rogerio Nogueria.  All have been reinstated after an investigation revealed the source of the failed test.

In a lawsuit, the broader problem is that Silva would likely have to bring an action against USADA and the UFC for its policy.  Since Zuffa, the parent company of the UFC is the organization that unilaterally (very important) implemented the policy, you would need to sue them.  Certainly, a daunting task for any fighter considering the lawsuits pending regarding Mark Hunt and the ex-UFC athletes in the antitrust lawsuit.

But, Silva would have been a great plaintiff to disrupt the current state of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy.  Granted, his UFC 183 NAC drug test failure was embarrassing to his legacy, but he has maintained a popularity with most MMA fans.  Stepping in on short notice to face Daniel Cormier at UFC 200 was legendary because it was clear that he was not in shape to go in and fight but did it to help the company.

So, why sue the company that he has been a part of for years?

The UFC Anti-Doping Policy has flaws and there is no way that they can be amended since contracted athletes have no leverage to influence policy.  Project Spearhead among other entities have attempted to organize but those efforts are still pending.

A lawsuit which would include USADA and Zuffa would bring attention to the perceived unfair policy developed by the organization.  While the intent of the policy is for the greater good of the sport in that it prevents the use of performance enhancing drugs, athletes have complained about the testing measures and the collection process.  Josh Barnett, who successfully defended himself at arbitration over a failed drug test, left the UFC due to the lack of trust he had in the process.  Despite the fact athletes may absolve themselves of wrongdoing, athletes are immediately put on a provisional suspension pending adjudication which takes a lengthy amount of time to complete.

Moreover, the standard for which athletes must prove their innocence is a huge obstacle considering that the UFC Anti-Doping Policy operates on a presumption that the athlete is responsible for anything he or she ingests.  Thus, the issue of compounding pharmacy or taking a tainted supplement already makes the athlete culpable.

A lawsuit is a long, arduous process that costs a lot of money.  Silva is 43 and would like to fight before his time is up.  So, not filing a lawsuit is prudent to finish his career in the UFC.  But, his legacy could be more than this if he were to take legal action.  It would be likely that a lawsuit would necessitate a response short of a trial. Meaning, the USADA and Zuffa would want to solve the issue prior to judicial resolution.  The loss of sponsors, assuming they were due to in-ring inaction rather than another issue, may be a viable claim for lost wages due to an unfair system.

Legal action is not always the way to resolve disputes, but at the present time if athletes want a change to the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, filing a complaint might be the way to do it.

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